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Physiol Behav. 2007 Mar 16;90(4):576-82. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

Tryptophan increases nocturnal rest and affects melatonin and serotonin serum levels in old ringdove.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Extremadura, Avda. de Elvas s/n, 06071 - Badajoz, Spain.


The sleep promoting functions of melatonin have gained wide scientific attention due to the ability of this indole to provide relief from sleep inefficiency and the temporal relationship between its nocturnal rise in the blood and the "opening of the sleep gate" at night. However, little is known about the effects exerted by its precursor, the amino acid tryptophan. We studied the effect of a 7-day administration of two concentrations of tryptophan (125 and 300 kg b.w.) on the activity/rest rhythms of ringdove, aged 2-3 (young) and 10-12 (old) years, and on the serum levels of serotonin and melatonin. Activity pulses were logged before, during, and up to 5 days after the treatments. The animals received 125 or 300 mg/kg b.w. per animal/day at 09:00 h or at 19:00 h. Subsequently we chose the treatment which gave the best results in terms of nocturnal rest without affecting diurnal activity, i.e., 300 mg/kg b.w. administered to old animals at 09:00 h, 1 h after lights on, for the serotonin and melatonin measurements. During this treatment, the nocturnal and diurnal levels and amplitudes of serotonin and melatonin were all significantly higher than the corresponding levels before and after the treatment. In sum, our results point to an improvement of nocturnal rest in this animal model of old ringdove when administering 300 mg/kg tryptophan 1 h after lights on.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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